Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Manly Silver Scarf

My husband has been without a scarf for nearly as long as I've known him. Colorado, despite what many believe, doesn't get that cold. It probably does up at the ski resorts, but not down where we lived, so it wasn't much of an issue. The colder Pennsylvania winters have made this lack of scarf more of a problem. It was also a silly problem to have, as I am a compulsive knitter.

It all came to a head as I was speed Christmas shopping in Target (while he sat in the car with napping kids). I spent a good 5 minutes looking through the clearance cashmere scarves and had what could only be called a crisis of conscience. I knew he would like cashmere. I knew he would like a scarf. I believe Christmas presents should be about what the receiver wants, not what the giver wants to give, so I don't often give handknits. Should I buy him one, despite my ability to make him one that I believed was superior? Ability doesn't equal reality and, meanwhile, his neck was cold. I'm sure I looked like an idiot, just standing in front of these scarves. In the end, I left them there and promised to make him one. (By the way, they were also out of the Boba Fett helmet mugs. It was not a productive shopping trip).

I confessed all of this to him and, when he was done laughing at how much stress I had built up, he said these lovely words; "Honey, do you have time to look at ravelry with me?"

We queued up several patterns that caught his eye, and here is ths first (free ravelry download)! It's the What a Mighty Good Manly Scarf, in reference to a great song. The final project had half the number of sts in width, as per his preferences, which also made it a much faster knit.

The yarn is Elegance, of which I have a great deal left over from my first sweater, and so this is part of my big Stash Bust '09. Not a major part, but there is more to come!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Homemade Tortillas Are easier than you think!

There are many reasons why we have tried to eat out less in the past year. It's more affordable, it's easier with the kids and involves less driving. We still haven't gotten to know many restaurants in our area, and there really aren't many Mexican ones. We both love to cook, so we mostly eat out just to avoid clean up. Not that I'm home more, this is less of an issue. Lastly, there are certain things that I've been trying to avoid since I started eating more heathily, including processed grains and transfats.

When I found transfats in the tortillas that we usually buy, I knew there had to be a better way. The results? Homemade tortillas! And you know what? They were super, incredibly easy. Even my husband, who looks with a dubious eye on all my healthy, South Beach inspired cooking, loved them and won't go back to store bought. I got the recipes here, because it was the only one I could find that didn't call for lard or shortening. It's not as authentic, but I don't have either in the house, so olive oil it is! I also used the King Arthur brand White Whole Wheat flour, which I discovered through the great blog, Kalyn's Kitchen (the actual entry is here). This blog is seriously fabulous. It has made low glycemic index eating totally easy and fun, and one of the main reasons I've been able to lose 100 pounds.

These tortillas starred in chicken tacos for lunch, and homemade enchiladas for dinner. I'll be making them again next week! I might even be making tortilla soup again.

There has been knitting, but it has been a) frustrating and b) super secret, because I'm thinking of submitting it as a design!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Quilt, Alaska Style

I have accumulated, over the years, craft stuff. Lots and lots of craft stuff. Fabric, clay, paint, soap molds, beads, thread, pliers, buttons and, of course, yarn. I have too much. No one told me I had to much, but I'm really starting to resent the square footage taken up by all this... stuff.

This doesn't stop me from wanting to accumulate more, however. I want a wheel. I see handspun everywhere these days. (Well, at knit night and on blogs. I don't see much at Target, or Costco or my other frequent haunts).

My deal (with myself) is this: Work the stash (not just yarn, but all of it) into a manageable, respectable, small space. When this is done, I will get a spinning wheel. I am still allowing myself to buy stuff, but it counts towards the square footage requirements, so will slow down getting the wheel.

The main culprit is fabric. I used to quilt, years ago, and fabric takes up a ton of space. Finished quilt tops take up a ton of space. And that brings us to today's FO. It's a new quilt for the little dude. This is the first quilt top that I ever finished, back in 99. I wasn't sure that I would like quilting, so I tried it with old jeans and flannel shirts, rather than investing in fabric. It turned out that I did like it, and never got around to finishing this quilt top. I have moved it across the country 4 times, and stored it in each of those houses, but never, ever used it. This weekend I slapped a back on it (also from the stash), took and old, twin sized comforter out of storage and tied it. Technically, this isn't a quilt, but it's close enough. And, it's all out of storage and finally useful!

Most of t6hese were shirts and jeans thta I actually wore, though I picked up the blue flannel shirt (at the top) and the nearly white jeans (by little dude's feet) at the old Valley location of Juneau's Salvation Army. The blue flannel that's in the square with those jeans used to be my favorite shirt. I picked up that one, and the brown, on clearance at Lamont's in Juneau, back in college. The pink was a fitted flannel shirt that I really like back in high school, but was too self conscious to wear much.

I also finished 3 knitted things this weekend, so more blogging to come!